Posted on August 02 2018
Come rain or shine, the summer holidays can be a long stretch for restless children. Whether you’re tackling the impending hyperactivity alone, or with a partner, you’re going to want to have a list of activities up your sleeve ready to whip out like a magic trick when confronted with the inevitable “I’m booooooored”. We could make a long list of day trips, and fun places to drive to – but 6 weeks is a long time, and we don’t all have the cash flow for regular theme park trips and days at the zoo. There are plenty of imaginative activities you can prepare at home for very little or no cost, that will provide an interactive time for both you and your little ones. Here’s just a few…
Kids love to make things. But what do kids love more than simply making things? Eat the things they’ve made! (and let’s not lie, so do you). Yummy baked goods aren’t just for children, right? There are loads of really creative things you could get the kids stuck into, from the very simple classic crispy cornflake bites, all the way to a full blown elaborately decorated cake. Little fingers love to mix and roll (and of course, lick the bowl!). You could buy some skewers and make fruit kebabs to enjoy together in the garden sun, or train up some Italian chefs-in-the-making and roll out some pizzas - see what crazy topping combinations you can all come up with. In our household we try to make our old favourites with a twist - homemade chocolate and hazelnut spread is always a favourite with so many different recipes to be found online, our own 'energy bars' using whatever ingredients we have to hand, and various vegetables in desserts - check out this brilliant blog with a mouth-watering array of fab and unusual recipes... https://veggiedesserts.co.uk. or buy the book here - https://amzn.to/2AvzER - we love it. For an extra something to do, why not make enough for a neighbour, friend or grandparent, and get the kids out of the house for a bit to gift their goodies!
You’ll already know the stories that your children love, probably because you’ve read their favourites so many times you could recite them by heart. For a slightly different story time experience, why not get interactive and turn the book into a stage production. If you have more than one child, you already have your cast. If you only have the one, you could invite some friends round to stand in as the missing characters. Your house will already have props, costumes and vivid imaginations of course. What more do you need? You could even use our story cards to get interpretive imaginations really fired up. You could even make this a longer activity, by writing out the story together first, as a keepsake to be remembered. For the older ones get them to sharpen up their editing and directing skills by making the whole thing into a movie on your smartphone!
As adults, we love a night off to get dolled up and go out for dinner, don’t we? The preparation and anticipation, the treat of a lovely meal and a little dancing. Well, who better to enjoy that with but your kids? Okay, Okay, we’re not talking about dragging little feet to the Ritz but instead, send a formal invitation to your children, asking them to join you for a dinner and dance. The living room can be your ballroom. The kitchen, your restaurant to wine and dine. The kids can don their favourite party dress or shirt, dance to Mr.Tumble’s party anthems or their latest favourites and drink fizzy apple like it’s expensive champagne. Make sure you dress the part too though…
You could get really creative with this. If you’ve been blessed with sunshine, you could set up a mega scavenger hunt that spreads throughout the house and the garden. This can either include hunting for things that already exist in both places – a specific kind of flower, a blue pencil, Dad’s favourite book. All you need to do is write a nice long list. On the other hand, you might want to hide items in unfamiliar places, and create some simple clues for your little hunter-gatherers to decipher. Whilst the kids are scouting the premises, you’ll have plenty of time to come up with some prizes or trophies for completing the challenge.
5. Get them started on a summer project
My 7 year old has been given a plain notebook from school to fill in with anything he likes over the summer holidays - lists, diary entries - whatever takes his fancy. However, there are two problems with this for him - firstly, there is no direction so he's basically just scribbled in it and drawn his interpretation of his 2 year sister's art work which I am not entirely sure is what his teacher was looking for, and secondly, the words 'summer holiday homework' has completely put him off and made him disinterested in the whole idea. To try and combat this I've tried to reword it as a summer family project and let him come up with his own ideas. For the past year and a half he's been obsessed by all things London but now we are back onto space so his books on space have come out to do research, art and craft materials to build planets and rockets including making salt dough for the models and all manner of paraphernalia is being used as a resource including YouTube videos, the iPad and his dad's camera to take photos at the science museum. It's been great so far to fill in down time and as a stand alone activity in itself.
So, there you have it. Five activities to get you started, that are simple to initiate and don’t cost the earth. But there are plenty more ingenious games-in-the-making to keep boredom at bay, all you need is a little creativity!
We'd love to know what activities you have up your sleeve to keep your youngsters entertained whilst not spending a small fortune over the holidays...